If you’re an off-road fan looking to plunk money down on an electrified Jeep with an open pickup bed, you might be hanging onto your cash longer than anticipated. Despite the brand heavily hinting at its existence during presentations earlier this year, rumors have cropped up that the Gladiator 4xe may have been pushed to the back burner in favor of other, more pressing projects.
Like updating the Wrangler to better compete with the Bronco, for instance.
The crew at Mopar Insiders, who always seem to have a reliably informed ear inside Chrysler FCA Stellantis, are reporting that any notion of an electrified Gladiator has been put on hold until the 2024 model year. Several models in the Jeep lineup already accept electrons, including the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee, and company suits have expressed a goal of having a fully electrified portfolio by 2025. If true, pushing the Gladiator 4xe out a year would still achieve those objectives.
It is being suggested that Jeep is putting renewed effort into the Wrangler’s upcoming mid-cycle refresh, due for the 2023 model year. While no one is expecting wholesale changes to the model which is arguably the face of Jeep, you can be assured it’ll be on the receiving end of more than a few tech and feature upgrades in order to keep pace with the Bronco. After all, this is the first time in living memory that Wrangler has had a true head-to-head competitor – and if you’ve driven a Sasquatch-equipped Bronco, you know it’s a good one.
That same source within Stellantis told Mopar Insider that the Gladiator mid-cycle refresh will appear a year later than the Wrangler, a timeline which makes sense given the pecking order at Jeep. Porting most changes from one to the other, at least in terms of cabin upgrades, will be a relatively simple matter of Jeep engineers lining up the two models and hitting Ctrl+V. After all, the Wrangler and Gladiator share much in terms of interior trappings.
At present, the Wrangler 4xe blends a 2.0L turbocharged four-banger with two electric motors and the familiar 8-speed automatic. This is good for 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque and about 20 miles of all-electric range. While cruising (or wheeling) solely on silent electric power isn’t the entire point of Wrangler 4xe, it remains a good party trick and certainly boosts the model’s fuel economy average.
While it would normally be a (relatively) simple task to plunk the Wrangler 4xe gubbins into a Gladiator, it certainly makes sense if Jeep is focusing its attention on the brand’s cash cow and most recognizable model instead of a niche trim on a slower-selling vehicle.
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